We hope this summer edition of the Region 4 Insider for 2011 finds you well! The goal of the Region 4 Insider is to: inspire you with cutting edge resources, tips, and stimulating ideas; connect you with Region 4 Parent Centers and national OSEP-funded TA&D centers; and provide updates that will help you improve your ability to serve families.
As June quickly descends on us, we hope you all have an opportunity to slow down and celebrate the closing of another school year. We know that everyone is incredibly challenged with the ever increasing demand for services coupled with the struggling economy. Despite these challenges, parent centers have remained vibrant, innovative places for families to turn to. This year's Region 4 PTAC conference theme, "You Make the Difference", was selected to honor and celebrate the impact that parent centers have every single day on the lives of children with disabilities. This year, we again are proud of the experienced, diverse and imaginative line-up of speakers and sessions planned. The Parent Center Nonprofit Management Certificate this year will focus on Organizational Change. Of course, we are also hoping to share a few laughs with new and old friends during our 3 days together. We look forward to welcoming you back to Milwaukee in just one week.
We are committed to providing you with high-quality, relevant, and easily accessible information and technical assistance. As always, please feel free to contact us with feature ideas or requests for TA at any time.
Courtney and Jan
FEATURED PARENT CENTER
Liz Healey, PEAL Executive Director
by Nelsinia Wroblewski
The Parent Education & Advocacy Leadership (PEAL) Center was established in October 2005 as an organization of parents of children with disabilities reaching out to assist other parents of children with disabilities, special health care needs, and professionals. PEAL has a total of 16 employers and 11 of them do PTI work.
Liz Healey is the founding Executive Director of the PEAL Center. Liz obtained her Bachelor's Degree on Child Development and Family Relations from Cornell University, State of New York. Her experience as an advocate for children with disabilities began with the birth of her daughter. Liz believed that if others see disability as a natural part of the human experience her daughter will always have a place in the community. Two of her most recent recognitions include the "2011 Dignity & Respect Champion Award", and the "Child Advocate Award" from Baker Leadership in 2011.
The PEAL PTI serves 43 out of the 67 counties in central and western Pennsylvania with a focus on education and community supports. The region served by PEAL is a large geographic area covering 31,906 squared miles, primarily rural, but includes 4 concentrated urban areas. This region is about as large as the whole state of South Carolina, stretching over 360 miles across the Appalachian mountain range. Due to this fact, a very large portion is national forest and has very limited Internet access, making it challenging to outreach the population, and requiring a lot of face-to-face interaction with consumers. Moreover, most of the towns are geographically isolated with small populations provoking limitations to the provision of related services for children with IEPs. It is not uncommon for families to travel 50-75 miles to attend training if they have transportation. Therefore, PEAL continues looking for partnerships to increase access to training by providing more transportation support opportunities.
The PEAL Conference is the hallmark of the organization. In March of 2007 the PEAL Center held its first conference on Inclusive Education. Since then, the conference has quickly become a valued event for both parents and professionals providing an average of 33 workshops and presenting 3 well-known keynotes. Thru its 5 past conferences, PEAL has trained more than 2,090 individuals including parents, teacher and youth with disabilities among others.
PEAL continues improving its cultural competency and linguistic services. A multicultural poster was strategically designed to outreach people in 12 different languages. They utilize a FM System with headsets for translations. Their trainings offer side-by-side translations of the power point slides. It is also common for the personnel to access interpreters thru relay services, especially for unusual languages like Nepalese and Russian among others.
When I asked Liz Healey about what would be the project that she is more proud of, she did not hesitate to answer "PEAL's Parent Leader Project, because the parents mentored thru the project successfully became more active in decision making groups". Moreover, Liz also stated: "We are creating the positions to replace ourselves by empowering these parents".
The PEAL Center's website is 100% accessibility approved and offers several online trainings that include workshop materials, videos, auto-recordings, a YouTube Channel and training series on the subject of special education and many other topics that pertain to youth with developmental disabilities. The website is an excellent example of the innovating usage of technology to reach more and more individuals. Check it out! You will be amazed of all the great and modern resources the page offers to parents, youth and other consumers. PEAL Center Website
NON PROFIT MANAGEMENT
By Courtney Salzer
Apart from terminating an employee, discipline is without question one of the most challenging tasks for a supervisor. Progressive discipline is one approach that when used properly, can give managers the tools they need to make fair, consistent disciplinary decisions.
Progressive discipline generally follows a sequence of steps. One particular article from nolo.com suggests the following 7 steps:
- Gather Information - Make sure you have all of the facts before you start the disciplinary process.
- Assess the Severity - Consider the impact the employee's difficulty is having on the rest of the organization so you choose the appropriate disciplinary measure.
- Decide How to Respond - In order to choose a proportionate response to a problem you must evaluate: the effect of the behavior; the frequency of the behavior; the employee's disciplinary history; and whether the behavior is legal or illegal.
- Prepare to Talk to the Employee - Plan ahead so you don't respond emotionally. Ensure that you have an example(s) of the problematic behavior and be able to provide specific suggestions for how the employee can improve. If agency policy is involved, have a copy available.
- Meet with the Employee - Begin by explaining the problematic behavior. Then, allow the employee to respond. Once you have had time to openly and honestly discuss the issue, brainstorm solutions. Allow the employee to play a significant role in coming up with an action plan.
- Document - Place the disciplinary decision in writing, including the plan for improvement.
- Follow Up - The goal of progressive discipline is to fix the problem and improve performance. Check in with the employee regularly and provide support so that the employee can be successful.
If you are considering using progressive discipline, policy will play a critical role. Make sure the discipline policies are clear and easy to understand by both the employee and the manager who be implementing them. Policies should allow for flexibility and discretion. For example, policies should give your organization the right to choose any level of discipline, up to and including termination, without first resorting to less severe disciplinary measures.
Updated IDEA Private School Q and A
IDEA 2004and its implementing regulations contained a number of significant changes for parentally placed private school children with disabilities [Section 612(a)(10)(A) of the IDEA and 34 CFR §§300.130 through 300.144]. An updated Q&A document, Questions and Answers on Serving Children with Disabilities Placed by Their Parents in Private Schools, was published April 2011 on www.idea.gov, superseding the Department's guidance issued in March 2006 and January 2007. The new version includes additional topics that have arisen as the field has implemented the IDEA regulations. Some of the new questions reflect recent policy letters that have been issued, while others address common questions that OSEP receives. New topics include:
1. Location of Services and Transportation-addressing how an LEA determines where equitable services are provided and whether transportation is required.
2. Property, Equipment, and Supplies-addressing whether Part B funds for equitable services may be used to place equipment and supplies in a private school or be used for repairs, minor remodeling, or construction of private school facilities.
3. Out-of-State Children with Disabilities-addressing the responsibility for determining and paying for services provided to out-of-State parentally placed private school children with disabilities.
4. Home-Schooled Children with Disabilities-addressing child find and services for children with disabilities who are home-schooled.
5. Children in For-Profit Private Schools-addressing whether children enrolled in a for-profit private school are counted in determining the proportionate share and whether they are eligible to receive equitable services.
Questions have also been added to address the consultation process, RTI, the process for developing a services plan, the difference between a services plan and an individualized education program (IEP), child find, and child count.View the updated document.
On May 26, 2011, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights released guidance to elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education on the legal obligation to provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity to enjoy the benefits of technology. Click here for the full press release, dear colleague letters, and FAQ's.
REGION 4 PTAC CONFERENCE
"You Make the Difference"
June 15-17, 2011
Intercontinental Hotel - Milwaukee, WI
Parent Center Non-Profit Management Programming
Programming will be offered by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee each day of the conference for those parent center directors and staff interested in receiving certification in parent center non-profit management. This opportunity is not open to other conference participants. Enrollment is limited to 30.
Twelve hours of training are required to receive a "mini-certificate" annually. Eight hours are offered during this conference. The additional 4 hours will be via webinars after the conference. All of the non-profit management sessions at the conference will be offered in the morning prior to the regular conference sessions. The non-profit programming is optional. However, those individuals desiring certification must attend ALL 3 of the non-profit management sessions during the conference and the webinars after the conference to be eligible for the certificate.
2011 Theme: Organizational Change
"Growing & Developing a Nonprofit"
This session will explore ways for you to become a change agent to assure that your organization will adapt internally to changing times and external circumstances. Identify various approaches to developing growth strategies that are then successfully incorporated into the organization's values, culture and operations.
"Developing and Using a Stakeholder Group"
Who are your stakeholders and why? For all nonprofits, effective relationship management can be critical to successful performance. This session will introduce ways to identify key entities throughout your community and develop productive internal and external relations.
"Understanding Your Environment"
(environmental scans & analysis)
Given the rapidly developing changes in our society and governmental operations, a successful nonprofit organization needs to systematically and continually monitor the external environment, identify those trends that will affect the organization and then act accordingly. The session will identify a few monitoring tools to assist you in understanding your environment.
**If you are registered for the conference, but have not signed up for these non profit programming sessions, we still have some openings. If interested, contact us.
Weapons of Mass Instruction
iPads and iPods, smartphones and laptops cost far less than more specialized technology and their prices continue to drop. These devices have the potential to help change the course of U.S. K-12 education for nearly every child, both with and without disabilities. The Family Center on Technology and Disability features insights of education researcher and author Milton Chen, who calls these increasingly ubiquitous devices, "weapons of mass instruction."
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) has developed a free downloadable app - EyeNote™ - to assist the blind and visually impaired denominate US currency. The app is a mobile device app designed for Apple iPhone (3G, 3Gs, 4), 4th Generation iPod Touch, and iPad2 platforms. It is available through the Apple iTunes App Store. It uses image recognition technology to determine a note's denomination. The mobile device's camera requires 515 of a note's scanned image, front or back, to process. In a matter of seconds, EyeNote™ can provide an audible or vibrating response, and can denominate all Federal Reserve notes issued since 1996. Free downloads will be available whenever new US currency designs are introduced. More information: http://www.eyenote.gov/.
Kindle Lending Library
Amazon announced (4/20/11) Kindle Lending Library to launch later in 2011. Kindle customers will be able to borrow Kindle books from over 11,000 local U.S. libraries. Whispersync technology will allow patrons to highlight and add margin notes to Kindle books checked out from libraries. Notes will not show up when the next person checks out the book. However, notes will be there when the first person checks out the book again or subsequently buys it. www.amazon.com/kindle.
Read2Go is a new "accessible" e-book reader for the Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch that allows Bookshare members to read Bookshare books on these mobile devices. With Read2Go, members can find, download, and read Bookshare books, including DAISY format books. DAISY books provide accessibility features that can help children with print disabilities to read, like listening with high quality voices, seeing and hearing words read as they are highlighted, adjusting font size, coloring, and more. Read2Go will be $19.99 on the Apple App store later this quarter. To be notified when it is available, sign up here!
From AiSquared, $19.99, is a combination video magnifier and portable electronic reader for the iPhone or iPod touch from the company behind ZoomText. ZoomReader will take a picture of a document using the camera in the iOS devices, enlarge the text to the size needed by those with low vision or convert the text to speech and read it back. Menus, restaurant receipts, you name it, are now accessible. Video demo
Augmentative communication app that "provides a full-featured communication solution for people who have difficulty speaking". It brings natural sounding text-to-speech voices, up-to-date symbols, powerful automatic conjugations, a default vocabulary of over 7000 items, full expandability and extreme ease of use to the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad." Video demo
LEARN MORE ABOUT HMONG CULTURE AT THE REGION 4 PTAC CONFERENCE
By Nelsinia Wroblewski
Did you know?
- The Hmong are hill-tribe people from Laos.
- There are approximately 300,000 Hmong living in the U.S. now. Most of them are in CA, MN, WI, and NC.
- The Hmong have 18 clans that consist of everyone with the same last name.
- In the Hmong culture family is the center of the Hmong life. Males and females have different roles and reciprocal obligations are integral parts of Hmong life.
- Hmong culture traditionally does not focus on mental health and disability. Their beliefs influence choices of treatment.
Increasing Outreach among the Hmong Population
Parent Centers from Region 4 now have the opportunity to hear from Britney Xiong at our Regional Conference on June 15th. Britney is the president of Western Bilingual in Milwaukee, WI. Throughout several years of experience, Britney has helped the business world to understand different cultures and how to better serve them. In addition, she helps companies diversify their pool of employees, which brings in new talents and ideas.
During her session, Britney will share ideas on how to increase the effectiveness of outreach to this non-traditional group.
T A & D NETWORK
CONNECT: The Center to Mobilize Early Childhood Knowledge
CONNECT is developing web-based, instructional resources for faculty and other professional development providers that focus on and respond to challenges faced each day by those working with young children and their families in a variety of learning environments and inclusive settings.
The practice-based modules are designed to build early childhood practitioners' abilities to make evidence-based decisions. They emphasize a decision-making process, realistic problems to solve, the importance of integrating multiple perspectives and sources of evidence, the relevance and quality of content, and feedback.
Each module includes five steps
1. Dilemma. Consider a dilemma.
2. Question. Turn the dilemma into an answerable question.
3. Evidence. Consider key sources of general evidence (definition, research, policies, experience based knowledge).
4. Decision. Integrate sources of evidence with different perspectives and unique contexts to make an informed decision.
5. Evaluation. Evaluate the practice decision. Information is presented in a variety of formats including audio and video clips, and written resources. CONNECT's materials are standards-based, strongly rooted in an evidence-based practice framework, and easily adaptable to the needs of multiple audiences and contexts. All are available at no cost.
June 15-17, 2011
Region 4 PRAC Conference
Intercontinental Hotel, Milwaukee, WI
July 18-20, 2011
OSEP Project Director's Conference
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC
July 14, 2011
Language Access Plan OSEP national webinar for all parent centers
August 1-3, 2011
OSEP Mega Conference Hyatt Regency Crystal City - Crystal City, VA
August 30, 2011
Region 4 Nonprofit Programming Webinar
Topic: Non Profit Advocacy
(open to all - required for 2011 mini-certificate)
September, 2011 (Date TBD)
Region 4 Nonprofit Programming Webinar
Topic: Crisis Management
(open to all - required for 2011 mini-certificate)